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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 12/22

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, December 22, 2016

Q: How rare is the size and athleticism combination for a player like Leonard Williams?

BB: Yeah, [he's] really good. He plays everywhere. He plays out on the end. He plays in the three-technique. He plays on the nose. They move him around. Some of it is third-down but regardless everybody kind of will get a shot at him, or he'll get a shot at everybody, however you want to look at it. [He has] a lot of power for a tall guy. He's got good leverage. He uses his hands well. He can knock the line of scrimmage back, has a good power rush, good quickness, runs well, athletic, plays on his feet and pretty instinctive. He finds the ball, reacts well to different blocking schemes. The way he gets attacked, he handles it pretty well. Yeah, he's really good.

Q: How valuable are the practice reps that Jacoby Brissett will get through the rest of the season?

BB: Well, I think practice helps everybody. That's why we do it, but you know, the most important thing for us is to win. That's what we're here for. He gives us depth at a position that's an important position. I don't know. Nobody needs insurance until you need insurance. I don't know if we're going to need it. I don't know if we're not going to need it. At least he knows our system. He's played here. It's an important position. I don't think you want to bring a guy on to the team in the postseason that hasn't been with you all year, which is where we would be if we only had two quarterbacks. Sometimes that's where you are. This year we had an option so that's what we did.

Q: How has Jacoby Brissett grown since he first arrived here?

BB: Jacoby [Brissett] got better every day for several months and then he didn't miss anything in terms of meetings or preparation, traveled with us on the road and so forth. He just wasn't able to do much. Now that's he's come back he is working his way back into it. You just don't pick up where you left off without having the opportunity to have the timing of all of those plays and just being able to throw the ball for a couple of months or however long it was that he wasn't able to do it, six weeks or whatever it was. I can't remember but it was a significant amount of time, so all of that is coming back but it's not like training camp where you're out there pretty much every day. We only practice, let's call it three times per week. It's just less of what he needs but the other guys are at a different point in the season and so we have to try and manage the team. But he's making progress. He's coming. We'll do the best we can. We're limited in some ways.

Q: You've mentioned before that as a rookie in 2000 Tom Brady sort of took control over the leadership of that rookie class. Have you seen that same kind of thing from Jacoby Brissett this season?

BB: I think he's got good leadership skills. We're a little bit different team than we were in 2000 when we had - I forget - I think it was like 22 or 23 first-year players on that team. It was a lot. It was a high number. We have a number of those guys now but it's just I'd say a little bit different. But yeah, all of those guys that he works with that are on the practice squad or that need more reps, whether it be a younger receiver like Devin [Lucien] or DeAndrew White or Michael [Floyd] who just got here, then he'll work with those guys. D.J. Foster, whoever it happens to be; [Tyler] Gaffney. 

Q: Do you treat Quincy Enunwa as a pure receiver or does he have some tight end tendencies?

BB: Yeah, I mean he's a tough matchup guy. They use him as a receiver but I think where his value really comes in for him is he can block and he can do some things that a tight end can do. Not so much as a point of attack in the running game, but again, he's a mismatch guy. So if he's on a defensive end that's obviously a mismatch, but when you put another defensive back in to match him then he gains an advantage in the running game because he's a big, physical blocker that's bigger than almost every defensive back in the league I would think. And he does some other things like cutting the backside end or a linebacker on flash plays and things like that. Coach [Chan] Gailey uses him very effectively. It's definitely a problem because he's not a tight end. He is a receiver. He's not a tight end but he is a tight end. You definitely don't want to get mismatched on him in the passing game and end up with a linebacker on him or something like that when he's not a tight end. He's definitely not that. But they can create some angles and some problems for you in the running game if you are too light and then, as I said, then he gains an advantage on those guys in the running game but maybe you can matchup better to him in the passing game. There are not a lot of guys like him. There are some undersized tight ends but they don't have the passing game skill. This guy can make plays 40 yards down the field as a receiver, not as a tight end. He can do them on the corners. We saw him do it. Yeah, he's a tough matchup. He's a unique guy. Tough, strong after the catch, catch-and-run plays, under routes, stuff like that, hitches. He can take a four or five-yard play and turn it into 20 by his run-after-the-catch skills. He's strong. He's got good balance, tough runner, tough kid.

Q: Did you know the extent of Michael Floyd's BAC during his arrest for DUI before claiming him off of waivers?

BB: No, not if it was just released. 

Q: Does finding out about that change anything for him in your eyes?

BB: Yeah, well again Ben [Volin], he's in a legal situation. I can't comment on his legal situation. I appreciate you asking about it though. I really do.

Q: I just want to be fair.

BB: Yeah, 100 percent.

Q: So knowing the extent of his situation now doesn't change your opinion on the matter?

BB: I can't comment on his legal situation.

Q: How much has Malcolm Butler grown from the beginning of the season to where he is now?

BB: Yeah, I think Malcolm [Butler]'s kind of getting to the point now in his third year where it's incremental. It's a lot of little things. The jump from year one to year two and maybe year two to the beginning of year three but there's a point now where things aren't brand new. It's repetitions. It's working more with his teammates. Maybe some little things on a particular receiver because he's played the receiver now multiple times, or the division teams, guys that we've gone up against two or three times now that you start to get a feel for how to play that particular guy that you didn't have the first time. Those are all important things to gain from experience but I think they're incremental relative to the general learning of our system, of the league, of the NFL passing game that kind of take place in that rookie year. Year one to year two is a big jump and then in Malcolm's case from year two to year three because he didn't really play much as a rookie; 10 percent, 12 percent playing time, whatever it was. So that second year was huge growth but the third year was really building off the second year which was not his rookie year but it kind of was sort of like a rookie year for him if you will. 

Q: It seems like he's done a good job of getting underneath the skin of receivers that he's been matched up against the past few weeks.

BB: Very competitive; Malcolm [Butler]'s really competitive. It really bothers him when a guy catches a ball on him and that's the kind of attitude you want to have from a defensive back. When they do catch it they want to make a real hard tackle and kind of make the guy pay for those yards that he got. Malcolm's a good tackler. Really he's a tough kid. So yeah, I think that competiveness and then when you match him up with another real competitive guy like a Steve Smith for example, a guy like that, you get a war. But I love Malcolm's competiveness. I love the way he competes and not just for the ball in the passing game, but the tackle to kind of hit the other guy harder than the other guy hits him, that kind of aggressiveness. You don't get that out of every corner but he brings that and that's a good quality. It's a great quality.

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